The Global Warming weather report for Encinitas, California, on Saturday, August 1, 2015, stated hot and muggy. Not exactly the ideal weather for battling it out in a 12’ x 12’ square ring with someone attempting to knock your block off. The meteorologist report did not dampen the enthusiasm of the eight boxers taking part in Saturday’s USA Amateur Boxing Show hosted by the good folks of Encinitas Boxing & Fitness in Encinitas. As they say, “these boxers came to leave it all in the ring.”
Bout #1 featured 17 year-old Brayan “El Machete” Garcia (152.4 lbs.) who has been training with coach Marcel Acevedo at the United Boxing & Fitness Gym, Chula Vista, Calif. since January of this year. His opponent was 22 year-old Nicholas Cortez of the Nevarez Boxing Team, Vista, Calif. who has been in the sport for five years. Cortez (11-3) had already faced and beaten many of the top super welterweights. On the downside, Cortez had recently gone through a one year sabbatical from the sport to rehab from a knee operation.
Just minutes before Saturday’s contest, Garcia and his coach were questioned about their reasoning for taking on such a match with it’s huge disparity in the experience. Coach Acevedo’s answer, “Brayan’s ready. We realize we’re putting him on the fast track and accelerating his development, but he’s ready. He just graduated high school and he’s not intimidated in the least.”
In his bout with Cortez, Garcia went toe to toe and for the majority of time proved to be up for the task. In round one, it appeared both boxers had the same game plan – load up and land that one big bomb, so they could end the match early. Well, both boxers did land their devastating shots to the head and body, but their opponent, with the granite chin, proved as indestructible as a Sherman tank.
From the highlight reel, you’ll see where Cortez wowed the crowd by landing this fully leveraged uppercut, while Garcia was right there matching his explosive attack with his own wider, looping punches which for the most part were these thundering overhand rights. The momentum swings were short lived and keeping track of punch stats must have been a nightmare for the judges. At the end of this match, the judges awarded Cortez the victory based on his ring generalship, balanced attack (when attacking he did a better job of mixing things up) and of the two, he appeared to be the more accurate puncher.
Coach Acevedo’s spin on the bout, “Wow, spectacular performance from Brayan. He gave his opponent one a hell of a fight! We didn’t get the decision but we definitely got our RESPECT!”
Bout #2 featured 29 year-old Jessica Vera (139 lbs.) from The Arena, Point Loma and 28 year-old Leslie Pannunzio (139.4 lbs.) from the host gym, Encinitas Boxing & Fitness, both of whom were making their Amateur debuts. Pannunzio had been training for two years, while Vera, who’s grandfather boxed, had been training for just one year.
This was another match in which the boxers went nonstop. The back breaker for Vera was her inability to overcome Pannunzio’s height and reach advantage. Pannunzio also demonstrated better footwork as she continued to circle away from Vera’s power alley. Still, the exchanges were heated and in the end, both boxers had tremendous respect not only for the sport but each other.
Bout #3 had 20 year-old Justin Lang (1-2) of North County Boxing (171.8 lbs.), a former high school football player, going up against 24 year-old Cody Warden (3-0, 178 lbs.) from the Encinitas Gym who has also trained in the Martial Arts.
This bout should be dubbed the “Quick Hands Bout.” In round one, both boxers started fast and were throwing and landing punches in rapid fire succession. Warden held the upper-hand early and then suddenly fizzled out as Lang not only took command but had Warden in trouble in the final round.
In the closing bout, Bout #4, it was 25 year-old Robert Lartigue (3-2, 172.8 lbs.) of the Gladiator School of Boxing & MMA, Spring Valley taking on 22 year-old Shayan Etezadi (2-1, 168.2 lbs.) of Encinitas Boxing & Fitness.
Early on Etezadi would land the cleaner, harder shots and he never failed to keep coming forward like he was willing to take the pounding for an ulterior motive. Then, all of a sudden, everything changed and it was Etezadi taking the two punch combinations and eventually going down on all fours. Referee Hondo Fontan took one look at Etezadi’s glassy eyes and immediately stopped the bout. The pronouncement, “TKO, red corner.”
This bout should remind you of that saying, “Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give, it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.” Lartigue was taking a lot of hard shots to the head and body and according to the judges’ score cards he was way behind. But he never lost sight of his goal to eventually put Shayan on his back.
If we were to rate this show, it would probably get a B minus. Yes, you had the four wonderful match-ups, a full house in attendance, the background music was excellent, no controversies as far as the officiating but the boxing fans had to leave the facility early – wanting more. Aide-mémoire to all present and future boxing promoters whether Amateur or Professional – the ideal amount of boxing matches for a show is seven. Too many bouts (over 12), or in this case too few (four), is unacceptable. You’re not being a competent, first-rate host unless you follow these guidelines.
The next USA Amateur Boxing Show is Friday, August 7th at the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista. The first bell is set to ring at 7 p.m.
On tonight’s sign off of UFC #190, a Pay-for-view event, you could clearly hear the UFC announcer state, “It was another spectacular show!” Say what? The Rhonda Rousey demolition of Bethe Correia lasted 34 seconds. In other words there was likely more action at their Press Conferences than in Saturday’s show from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rousey has now ended all but one of her 12 fights in the first round. Cat Zingano tapped out at 14 seconds in that February farce at the Staples Center. At least the USA Amateur Boxing shows feature competitive bouts.